Detours in Life
It is an often-repeated saying that life is made up of little things. Author Kurt Vonnegut once said that we should “enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
In writing for Lifehack.org, columnist Amy Johnson pointed out forty “little” things that could become “big” things that could bring us happiness.
1.Finding money in your pocket that you didn’t know you had.
2. Being asked by someone who cares how you are doing.
3. Climbing into bed when you have fresh sheets.
4. Taking an extra-long bath or shower when you have some free time.
5. Smiling at a child you see in public.
6. Receiving a 10 minute massage from your partner or friend.
7. Cuddling someone before you have to get up and start your day.
8. Waking up and realizing it is a sunny, beautiful day.
9. Having a long phone conversation with someone you care about and haven’t spoken to in a while.
10. Watching the rain fall when you have nowhere to be, and you can curl up on the sofa.
11. Watching children playing and laughing together, reminding you of the joy in the world.
12. Spending some time with your pets – or animals in general!
13. A stranger giving you a genuine smile.
14. Having a nice, long stretch when you first wake up to get your body moving.
15. Laughing out loud at a funny memory.
16. A gesture of kindness from someone in your life – as simple as your child helping you cook dinner.
17. A smell you love, from baked bread to a freshly mowed lawn.
18. A meaningful, long hug from somebody you care about.
19. Putting on clothes after they have been warmed on the radiator.
20. Taking a few moments alone when things get hectic.
21. Watching the sunset or the sunrise.
22. The smell outside after the rain has stopped.
23. Listening to your favorite artist or album.
24. Receiving an email or a letter from a friend.
25. The chance to be creative, from painting an old set of drawers to doodling a picture.
26. Holding hands with someone you love.
27. Eating your breakfast in bed.
28. Playing a game you used to love when you were younger.
29. Eating healthy, tasty food that makes you feel good about yourself.
30. An extra half an hour to snooze in bed.
31. Having some time to yourself to read a book you love.
32. Buying your favorite drink or snack and savoring it.
33. Receiving flowers from someone who cares about you.
34. Eating your lunch outside in the sun.
35. Trying out a new recipe and creating something delicious.
36. A gesture of support from your friends or family.
37. Listening to a song you used to love and haven’t heard in years.
38. Taking the time to help someone with their problems.
39. Spending time in your home when it is tidy and clean.
40. Achieving a small victory, like fixing the washing machine or replacing a light bulb.
Most of these are little things that, if noticed, would bring a smile to your lips and joy to your soul. Few, if I am to be honest, would be actual detours and yet… Sometimes the detour is simply our slowing down enough to see the world around us. We all have countless things to do and few feel they have enough hours in the day to get them all done. Are we really too busy to find happiness in the little things around us?
Johnson answered this question in her article by quoting Dr. Glenn Williams, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. “An effective route to happiness is not necessarily through experiencing major events that we might have planned out such as getting married, moving house, getting that all-important promotion or even being on a holiday. Rather it is the small, and often unexpected, pleasures in life that can make us smile each and every day to help us build happier and more meaningful lives for ourselves and for others.”
Feeling in control of one’s life is a great thing and necessary for attaining success. We should not, however, be in such tight control that we miss the little things, those little detours that take us away from our norm and lead us to happiness.